Everest climber learnt to walk again but dies on journey back down from summit
An Australian climber who had recently regained his ability to walk has died while returning from the summit of Mount Everest. Jason Bernard Kennison, 40, passed away on Friday, and his relatives said that he had succeeded in reaching the mountain’s summit but tragically did not return home.
Kennison, a mechanic, participated in a trek planned by the company Asian Trekking. Dawa Steven Sherpa, the company’s managing director, told the Himalayan Times that Kennison started acting strangely after reaching the south summit.
The two Sherpa guides who were with him helped lower him to the balcony area, which was at an elevation of 8,400 metres.
The guides continued to camp four even though the oxygen supply was running low because Kennison refused to keep going down.
The Sherpas planned to descend and come back with new oxygen cylinders in the hopes of saving him.
According to the Himalayan Times, however, bad weather and strong winds prevented their swift return.
Kennison’s climb took place 17 years after he was told he could never walk again due to a serious vehicle accident in 2006 that left him with depression and spinal cord injuries.
He had started this climb to help Spinal Cord Injuries Australia raise money.
Kenninson explained on his Just Giving page how, three years ago, a second spinal treatment that required extra rehabilitation led to the desire to climb Mount Everest.
China Telecom broadcast images of Mount Everest via 5G
He claimed that someone close to him had been able to convince him that he was still capable of achieving anything he set his mind to.
Kenninson mentioned how getting a surfboard as a present had given him inspiration.
He said it gave him a new perspective on his life, let him realise the personal development he had been searching for, and made him appreciate the difficulties he had overcome.
He wrote: “In 2023 I will head to Nepal, to see and be on Mount Everest, a long way from once battling traumatic injuries and the low and dark days of depression. An ambitious feat that I would never have dreamed of, or thought was possible after once being told that I would not be able to walk.
“I am going to make the most of my life and part of that involves helping other people who have had their life changed in an instant through spinal cord injury. They shouldn’t be forgotten; they should be helped.”
He travelled to New Zealand to take part in mountaineering courses before starting the climb. He set aside time to practice rock climbing and abseiling, and even organised training sessions for jumaring, roping, and ladder crossing in his backyard.
His family is receiving consular support, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
According to the Himalayan Times, Mount Everest has seen a total of 10 fatalities this spring, and two climbers are still missing above the upper camps.
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